What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tuesday Thoughts

Good Morning Friends...It's Tuesday already...and I'm afraid I'm not keeping up with everything, like the Tuesday 4 meme, etc.  But we've had some sad news in our family, and that, along with still recuperating from this bug I've had, has kind of slowed me down.

My husband's cousin "Sonny", Charles E. Kirk II, (on the left below), passed away this past weekend after a prolonged illness.  He would have turned 80 in January. 
Cousin Sonny, hubby's brother Billy, and hubby John, circa Thanksgiving, 2009, at their family camp in the Ocala National Forest.

Here again, Sonny is with his lovely wife Joy, and our cousin Jane is on the front left, and my MIL "Nanny" Vivian is on the front right. This was probably in 2017, while "Nanny" was still living in the nursing home.

Sonny is the son of my MIL's oldest sister Nellie.

Here's the obituary just posted by his wife Joy on Facebook today:
"Ellijay, Georgia
Charles Eugene Kirk, Jr. (Sonny, Tiny), 79, passed from this life to his heavenly home on November 25, 2022 surrounded by family.
Charles was born January 9, 1943 to Charles Sr. and Nellie Kirk. He graduated from Apopka High School and continued his education at Mississippi College where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Charles spent his career in furniture manufacturing and after selling his business in 2007 retired to the North Georgia Mountains. He was a founding member of Ellijay City Church.
His survivors include:
Joy Kirk (wife) of Ellijay, GA and Jane Driver (sister) of Wildwood, FL.
Three sons: Charles Eugene Kirk, III of Centerville, Ohio, Brennan Kirk of Buford, GA, and Matthew McDowell of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Two daughters: Melissa Kirk of Buford, GA and Julie McDowell of Ellijay, GA.
Five grandchildren: Dustin Schaefer of Addison, TX; Duncan Schaefer (Courtney) of Bowling Green, KY; Caleb Kirk of Athens, OH; Olivia Kirk and Asher Kirk of Buford, GA.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents: Charles Eugene Kirk, Sr. and Nellie Mae Martin Kirk Capansky; his two daughters, Jannelyn Gail Kirk Shaeffer and Lorie Gailynn Kirk.
In lieu of flowers it was Charles’ wish that donations be made to his most recent passion, the building of Ellijay City Church, P.O. Box 1596, Ellijay, GA 30540.
For online donations go to www.EllijayCityChurch.com.
A celebration of life will be held in his honor on Wednesday Nov 30 at 6:30 pm at Ellijay City Church. For our friends from out of town we will be celebrating him again on what would have been his 80th birthday (his request). Details to follow later!"

 Since we are included in the "friends (family) from out of town", we will be "celebrating him again on what would have been his 80th birthday" in January.  Sonny had been looking forward to his 80th birthday celebration, and they were already making plans to have such a gathering when he took ill last month.  He told his wife that he would like for her to still have his birthday celebration whether or not he was present, and so that is the plan.  We are planning to travel north to Ellijay with our kids Benton and Rose when the time comes. Thankfully that isn't until after Christmas, so we will have time to plan.

And hopefully we won't have any more sickness here by then and will be ready to travel.  This morning I tried to go to Dixie Cottage but couldn't stay long.  I am having some tummy distress as an aftermath of sinus drainage and medications...and needed to come home.  "enough said".

So I haven't been able to do much of anything.  I have taken down all the fall/Thanksgiving decor and am starting to put out a few Christmas things, but the tree and all the major trimmings will have to wait until the weekend, when our son Scott will be home to help get things out of the shed. I took a look around inside the shed to see if hubby and I could do it alone, and decided we'd be better off to wait for help.  Everything is stacked up high and out of our reach...well organized for a change, but arranged by Scott, who is very tall and agile and strong.
Most of these tubs stacked up are Christmas decor. The tree(s) are to the left.

And the outdoor things are stuck behind these shelves/tubs, so I definitely can't get to them.

One interesting side note here...one of our dear blogging friends, who shall remain unnamed, may recognize the large red storage totes.  Not long before we moved to this house, she and her dear "beloved" had also moved into their new house, which is about an hour's drive from here.  Once they finished their unpacking they had several of these nice totes empty and were so kind to think that perhaps we could use them for storage here at our new house, so they drove them all the way here for us as a gift. We enjoyed a good visit and lunch, and yes, once we got our things better organized the red totes became excellent storage containers for much of our Christmas decor. We were happy to get things out of cardboard boxes so they would keep in better shape.  So you see, our blogging connections reach far and wide...and this is a very special memory of a very precious friendship...

So anyway, the only thing I have done inside thus far is to bring out the Christmas dolls and some of the Christmas tea things, since these are kept inside the house where they won't get too hot in the shed:

Lily Grace has changed into her lovely Christmas dress (which was actually a gift from another of our dear blogging friends!),

 and she joins her other friends at the table ready for a tea party.  These girls usually stay out year round, but I had to put them away while we were having the floors installed, (except for Lily Grace and her dog Bailey, who had to stay out and watch all the action!)

And these are the four Martin Sisters, all ready for their Christmas tea party. I've told you about them before, but in case you've forgotten, these dolls represent my mother in law and her sisters:
L to R: Daisy Pearl, Vivian (my MIL), Nellie Mae, and Dorothy.  I am sure they are all actually joyfully welcoming Nellie's son "Sonny" into heaven these past few days. I can just imagine the commotion that is going on in their corner of heaven.  A very happy reunion for sure.

Well, with those thoughts in mind I will close this for today.  

You know, the Advent season gives us just this same hope. The hope of eternal  life...

Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7
2 "The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined."

6 "For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

It's because of the hope that came through that Child, the Babe in the Manger, Jesus Christ our Lord, that we have the hope of salvation and eternal life.  Because of Jesus, we can face whatever sorrows come our way, because we know He holds our future...and Because He lives, we too shall live!  What joy and peace we have because of that great light that shined in the darkness...

Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Devotional for Advent -Revisited

NOTE: This was originally written a couple of years ago...but I thought it appropriate to share with you again today, this First Sunday of Advent...

Original Post written 11/29/2020

After the busyness of the previous week of Thanksgiving preparations and spending precious time feasting with family and friends...my mind and spirit needed to get away from the hustle and bustle for a little while and spend some time alone. Sitting along the shore of our Still Waters Pond brought peace and comfort as I quieted myself before the Lord and allowed His Presence to wash over me. There is such tranquility in the midst of the noise of the earth as I come before the Lord in reverence and awe, and enjoy again the beauties of His world surrounding me.

Ah! I suddenly remembered that it is the beginning of Advent...and as I gathered together the fresh pine boughs and holly branches filled with bright red berries, and placed the cedar candle stands in the center of the wreath that will hold the Advent candles throughout these next four weeks prior to Christmas, my heart began to sing to the Lord "a new song"...

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods."
Psalm 96:1-4

While I retreated from the world a little while, God reminded me again of the true meaning of Christmas...and why we should prepare our hearts for the Advent of the Lord as we proclaim Christ's birth and purpose for coming to the earth...

"The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined."

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace 
there will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to order it and establish it with judgment and justice
from that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7

What a precious time this was today...the Lord knew what I needed.  I needed to sit down in a quiet place and allow my soul to be bathed in His peace and comfort.  I needed to prepare my heart for the coming of the Lord....Christmas! I needed to make room for Him to enter into my heart and home and life again...and not just go through the motions of putting up all the decorations and shopping for gifts and baking and working and wearing myself out without enjoying the wonder and beauty of this most glorious season...

"Let the heavens rejoice,
and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful,
and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with His truth."
Psalm 96:11-13

And what about you? Have you prepared your heart for the coming of the Christ child this Christmas? There is no time like the present to be "present" to God's peace...
That would be the very best "present" of all...
Peace on earth, and in our hearts as well.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Post Thanksgiving Post

Happy Saturday after Thanksgiving! This is also known as:
So I hope you are out there supporting your local small businesses...I know I talk about our family's "Dixie Cottage" a lot, but I am sure there are many such places across the country, where you can find wonderful handmade crafts, repurposed items and furniture, and unique items that will definitely make someone smile...especially the small business owner, when you make your purchase! LOL.

Today I am not working at our Dixie Cottage as I am still recuperating from the "bug" that got me this past week and changed our Thanksgiving plans all around. I feel better but still tend to cough, especially at night, which disrupts my sleep, and I am just very tired.  So I am still taking it easy and not doing anything I really don't have to do. And so far on one else has gotten sick, so I pray it stays that way.

Meanwhile, back to Thanksgiving...after calling my sister and her family to cancel the big dinner at our house, our kids here decided to go ahead and cook the big 20 lb. turkey and all the trimmings and brought it over to us hot and ready to eat.  My fever had broken and I felt well enough to sit up and eat, so we were able to have a small family gathering. The best part was I didn't have to lift a finger to do anything! They cooked, served, and cleaned up and divided up the leftovers so everyone would have plenty to eat for a few more days.

We did use the vintage cranberry sauce turkey dish that was given to me by our former neighbor in our previous home. It belonged to his mother and he said she always served the cranberry sauce in that dish, and so when we had invited him to Thanksgiving he brought it and gave it to me.  Sadly, since then, our friend has passed away, so now we will continue to use it in his memory.

Here's the kids, helping up their plates. I couldn't believe how much food they managed to cook on such short notice...they had everything...turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, rolls, and even pies!  My daughter in love did the most of it...she's amazing!

Here's our sweet kids...Rose, Benton and Scott...

And here's them again with Daddy. Everyone was already eating when I thought about taking pictures, so that is why they look like they have their mouths full....the do! LOL

And there is my plate...I was actually hungry because I had not eaten anything hardly at all the day before, and this looked so good to me!

Right down to the pumpkin pie!

After dinner I took a nap while they cleaned everything up! Now that was sweet!
I am very very thankful for our family. They really amazed me with what they were able to accomplish on such short notice.
Oh, and the "icing on the cake" was a nice long phone conversation with our grandson Noah and his mother Nicole up in Maine later that afternoon. It was so good to get caught up with them as it has been quite a while.  That did my heart good.

So now I look around at all the Thanksgiving decorations and think about the fact that I need to put them all away (again!) and start getting ready for Christmas. But right now I don't really have the energy for that. I'm thinking maybe we will put the tree up next weekend when our son Scott comes back home for a day, so that gives me all week to work on putting stuff away slowly.
Meanwhile, we've had some fine feathered friends visiting Still Waters Pond to keep us entertained. 
Mr. and Mrs. Sand Hill Crane some frequently...

And we have different flocks of Canada Geese fly in to rest a while.

We are always so thankful for anything God provides for our enjoyment. They are a delight to our eyes!

Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

I love that verse!

Okay, I need to go for now. Thank you all for so many wonderful comments. I am trying to get around to visiting you all as many as I can.  You are a delight to me!


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

 This little Thanksgiving poem was read in church on Sunday, and it spoke to a lot of us...so I thought I would share it with you today, on Thanksgiving Day, 2022.

So today, I am counting my "joys instead of my woes..."  As I am sick and had to cancel our Thanksgiving dinner with our family.  It started up Tuesday afternoon, thankfully after I was able to meet with my brother and his wife and their daughter for breakfast and a tour of Dixie Cottage and then also they came to our house for a little while as my niece had never been here before and wanted to see the pond, etc.  

I had a little bit of a scratchy throat that morning, but I have allergies and didn't think much of it because I still felt just fine.  But later in the afternoon, long after they had left, I started going downhill with more symptoms of sinusitis, etc.  I went to our Dr. for a Covid test just to be sure, and it was negative.  They said it appeared to be sinusitis, and really there's not much that can be done for that except just drink lots of fluids, rest, and take tylenol and cold medicinc and vitamin C.  So that is what I've been doing, but by Wednesday morning I was running fever and chills and aches and pains, so I had to call my sister to let her know that I would not be able to cook a Thanksgiving dinner here, and they will have to figure out something else.  They managed to find everything they needed at their local Costco, as they live near the city and have a lot more options than we do here, so they will be fine, but we will miss being together.

Our kids Rose and Benton are going to go ahead and cook the 20 lb. turkey that was supposed to be for our big group since it was already thawed out, and they also will fix all the necessary sides and bring us a plate today.  Son Scott is also coming.  I do feel some better this morning, but still not well enough to host a big dinner by any means. However, before I got sick I did manage to get our house back in order after all the upheaval from the floor installation.  I wanted to have everything ready for today:

All the Thanksgiving turkeys and pilgrims and pumpkins are back in place...

Ready to welcome our guests and set a festive air.  Hubby says I worked too hard over the past couple of weeks with all of the packing, dust, mess, unpacking, etc., and that probably lowered my resistance so I got sick. I know I did breathe a lot of dust in the process...but thankfully our house is pretty much dust free now! LOL. (for now, I should say...that does take regular maintenance).

I even got Pamela's Victorian Cottage back together again, and installed new light fixtures...after that mystery light incident last month that I told you about HERE.  It did turn out that the batteries had exploded in the container and so that set of lights had to be discarded. I finally found some new ones at the Dollar General, and now the little family is all comfy and cozy in their bright little house again, and ready for Thankgiving:

Well, dear friends, that's about it. I must be getting better because I was able to sit up at my computer and write this, which I couldn't do yesterday. I am very thankful that this wasn't anything too serious, but mainly very annoying because of the timing and disappointment for everyone.  But God knows best. It's very foggy out there this morning and perhaps it wouldn't be a good day to travel the two hours here from my sister's house over the river and through the woods.  God always knows best.
"Count your health
instead of your wealth,
Count on God instead of yourself."

Give thanks, with a thankful heart...
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day my friends, wherever you are and whatever your circumstances.
Thanksgiving is a state of the heart that should last all year round.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Tuesday 4: The Thanksgiving Feast

 I'm sure we are all in the middle of our Thanksgiving preparations in one way or another...if you are hosting the dinner, then you are probably cleaning your house and thawing the turkey...and starting the baking of pies or other desserts.  If you are traveling elsewhere, you are probably getting things ready to take with you...whatever the situation in your life right now, let us all take time to pause and give Thanks in all things...the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. God is with us no matter what...and that is something to always remember and give Him thanks.

Here are this weeks Tuesday 4 questions and answers. Maybe you can join in?

The Thanksgiving Feast

Welcome, welcome to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 .

Let's talk about the Thanksgiving Feast.

1. Do you celebrate with family, friends or by yourself?
We normally celebrate with our immediate family, some extended family, and oftentimes with friends gathered together with us.  This year it will be exactly that...our immediate family who live here/nearby, our extended family: my sister and her hubby and their daughter and hubby and I still don't know if their son will come or not...we shall see when they get here...and also one of our special friends here locally will join us.  If we didn't have any family nearby we would most likely invite others to join us who also don't have any family nearby. That's always been our tradition...if our house was bigger, we'd fill it up.

These pictures are from  a couple of years ago...It will be pretty similar to this again this year...maybe a couple of different ones or some who aren't coming...but close...

2. Do you watch the Thanksgiving Day parade from Macy's in New York City? The appearance of Santa at the end signals the start of the Christmas season. What does the day hold for you?

Oftentimes the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is on the TV, but I am usually too busy in the kitchen to actually sit down and watch it. However I love to hear it in the background. The day holds for me a lot of cooking and work, but also a lot of joy in visiting with our guests and taking time to give thanks to God together for the blessings He has bestowed upon us.  At the end of the day I sit down and have a last piece of pie and a cup of tea and just relax and reflect on the joys of the day. I hate to see everyone go home. It's never enough time to really visit because there is so much work to do...but we always try to take time out after dinner to take a walk or walk around the yard if the weather is pleasant, or just find a somewhat quiet corner to sit down and talk. The guys are usually watching football and the ladies are on their own to visit. I just wish the day could be longer.  Those who travel have to leave before dark, which comes much too early.
Last year's Macy's parade. Somehow I managed to watch a little of it!

3. What foods are the hit of Thanksgiving Day for you?
Everything is good to me...but I enjoy the sweet potato casserole, the dressing and gravy, and whatever other side dishes people bring to compliment the meal. I like the turkey okay, but I could be just as happy if I didn't get any of it and just ate everything else! LOL.  I think this is a picture of my plate last year:

4. We say grace before and after meals. Is grace a part of your Thanksgiving meal?
Most definitely. We usually all gather in a big circle and join hands and pray before we begin. Then after everyone is seated and while the food is being passed around, we take turns sharing something that we are thankful for in particular. Everyone is given an opportunity to speak if they wish, but they don't have to.

Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions, I pray that the day is meaningful and filled with love for you whether with family, friends or alone. May God shine his blessing love down on you and yours and make us all truly thankful this year.  Please go visit our other friends at the Tuesday 4 link up HERE

Now, back to the present day:  Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement on my last post.   Some of you have asked how the "Sip and Shop" at Dixie Cottage went, and I can tell you it was a very busy and lovely day!  There were many many visitors and lots of things were sold! We also held a drawing for three different gift baskets, and the winners were notified today to come and pick up their basket this week:

I wish I had thought to take some pictures throughout the day, but I was so busy at the cash register that I didn't have time to think about it. I was happy to see some of my special friends show up, and several from our church as well. It was a very happy day all day long!

We sold a lot of tree ornaments like these:

And mostly a lot of other Christmas decor items.  And I did make one purchase myself...
The vendor who brought in these special items last month was disappointed that they hadn't sold, so she marked the price down to half price...and said if anyone really showed interest and wanted them, to just sell them for $10.00.  Well, I told her if that was the case they were probably going to be going home with me as I've had my eye on them ever since they arrived but of course I wanted to give everyone else a chance to buy them first...but since she was so anxious to have them sold...well...who could resist?
Not me! And so, since no one else seemed to be interested...

They went home with me and you can see they made friends right away with a certain young lady a.k.a. 
Lily Grace: (and her dog Bailey).

We haven't named them yet...I guess we need to work on that and I will let you know. And certainly if you have any suggestions I'd be happy to hear them.

Now, one more big surprise!  Today I received a phone call from my brother Clifford from North Carolina, and he and his family are in Florida to have Thanksgiving with his wife's family, but he asked if they could meet us tomorrow morning over here at a restaurant for breakfast, and of course I said YES!!  We haven't seen each other since the fall of 2019, because you know what happened after that and we haven't had a chance to get our families together since then.  So this will be a happy reunion! He will be bringing his wife and also their oldest daughter will come along with them. They are anxious to also go and see Dixie Cottage, and so of course Benton and Rose will be joining us for breakfast as well and then giving a tour of the store. Thankfully Benton and Rose's friend is going to be taking care of the store Tuesday and Wednesday to give them a little break (and us too!!!) so we can get ready for Thanksgiving!  Then they will be back at work in full force on Friday and Saturday.  So anyway, this was an unexpected happy surprise and blessing! Another thing to be thankful for this week!!

Okay, I need to stop and take a break.  Oh, I've been still putting things back in order in our house since our big event last week with the floor installation.  Almost everything is back in place, but it has been a much bigger job than I ever anticipated. Thankfully Rose is going to cook the turkey on Thursday and the other family members are all bringing food too, so I won't have to do as much. God is good and we are very very thankful!!

I hope to write again soon, but if not before Thanksgiving, then please have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones if at all possible.  

If you'd like to hear a good Thanksgiving sermon from Psalm 100, and also listen to our choir singing "Count Your Blessings", then here it is!!  

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy 
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 18, 2022

Friday Foto Friends from Chilly Florida

Good Friday Morning Friends!

Sunrise at 7:00 a.m., Current Temperature is 42 degrees!! High today will be 60!
No snow in sight...but then again, this IS Florida!

I was thinking to myself, gee, I wish I had some kind of bird picture to show you this morning. No sooner had I said that than a flock of Canada Geese came honking and flying in onto Still Waters Pond! Sorry again for the poor quality, but it is difficult to get good pictures in such low light:

Nevertheless, they flew in right on time to bless me again...another example of God's perfect timing!

To show you that it is quite chilly here...This is my hubby yesterday, wearing his PJ's to keep warm.
If you are a Facebook friend, you've probably already seen this photo as it was quite the talk of the town yesterday! LOL

I was thinking I didn't have much to share with you today as we are busily preparing for Saturday's big event at Dixie Cottage:

It will be a long day of fun and hopefully lots of happy customers who come to visit us and do some early Christmas shopping!

If you can't make it here to Florida to our little shop, then please support your local small businesses wherever you are!  I believe next Saturday, November 26th, is the official Shop Small Business day, but any day is fine with all small business shop owners!

Dixie Cottage is filled with beautiful items, mostly all created by local artisans. We are very thankful to be able to provide space for them to sell their wonderful creations: 

Those little trees are hand crocheted!! Beautiful!

All kinds of ornaments and signs and decor

Christmas quilted wall hangings:

More Christmas ornaments...wreaths...all kinds of decor

I love this old Singer sewing machine. One of our vendors brought in a lovely little stool that is just right for it!

Let us not forget the true meaning of the season:

This pink little dresser would be lovely in some sweet little girl's bedroom:

Repurposed jewelry made into lovely and fun Christmas pins and earrings, etc.:

This is a lovely "new to us" painted accent table...

And it I had a young grandchild, I may be tempted to take this Rocking Horse home with me:

This is not a vendor's item, but I do love this woodland Santa with the fox, cardinal, owl, bunny rabbit, and polar bear cub:

Well, the sun is a little brighter now and the geese swam around the pond and came back into view for a minute...and then they hurried on their way around the pond again...or maybe they are headed to Dixie Cottage to take advantage of all the great deals!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I may be a bit out of touch for a couple of days while we get through this major event! LOL.

2 Corinthians 9:8

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, 
that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, 
may have an abundance for every good work."